Court rules in favor of county’s tiered winery ordinance
By Karen Brainard
The Superior Court of California has ruled in favor of the County of San Diego’s tiered winery ordinance in a case challenging the ordinance by Coast Law Group on behalf of the San Diego Citizenry Group.
In addition, the April 15 ruling by Judge Timothy Taylor orders the San Diego Citizenry Group to pay the county $16,444 for “the cost of preparation of the extensive administrative record.”
On Aug. 4, 2010, the county board of supervisors unanimously approved the tiered winery zoning ordinance and General Plan amendment that would allow boutique wineries by right to open tasting rooms on land with A70 or A72 agricultural zoning. Opponents of the ordinance had 30 days after adoption to file a lawsuit before it became law. The San Diego Citizenry Group did so, challenging the board of supervisor’s approval of a final Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
In his ruling, Taylor stated, “Upon consideration of the pleading and papers filed by the parties, the administrative record, and the arguments made at the April 14 hearing, the court finds that the petition lacks merit and therefore denies same.”
The court found, in this CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) case, that the county made adequate inquiry into possible future development of wineries, that its conclusions regarding mitigation measures was adequate and based on substantial evidence, and that the county properly identified, compared, analyzed and found infeasible the project alternatives.
“Finally the court determines that petitioner has failed to carry its burden to demonstrate General Plan inconsistency,” the ruling stated.
The citizenry group can file an appeal within 30 days. The Sentinel was unable to contact the group’s spokesperson before going to press.
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